According to new research that caught my attention recently, the 'E' in ecommerce may need to be redefined. I mean the one at the beginning, of course. Not the one at the end.
It could be E for emotion, E for excitement, or E for elation.
What am I talking about? You may well ask. Research from Censuswide, carried out on behalf of payment company Klarna, has found that adding items to an online shopping basket triggers a positive emotional response among shoppers in the 16-34 age band. They are, in fact, three times more likely to be excited about the simple act of adding items to a basket than older shoppers. Although maybe that’s because the older you get the less exciting the things you shop for become. I shan’t dwell on that here, in case it says more about me than anything else.
Another interesting finding from the research, which was written about on InternetRetailing, is that 68% of so-called millennials are likely to suffer from feelings of anxiety and guilt at the point of payment, whereas for those aged 55 and above it’s only 24%.
Let’s just reflect on that for a moment. Shopping is fun but paying for your shopping is not as much fun. That might seem like stating the obvious, but buried in this truism is a problem retailers need to get on top of.
If all the positive vibes I’m accruing while shopping online are fragile and temporary, which it sounds like they are if I’m about to start feeling anxious and guilty at the checkout, you - the retailer - cannot afford to do anything at all that might add to the impending sense of negativity that sets in when I have to get my card out.
Do not, under any circumstances, give me an excuse to rationalise to myself that abandoning my incomplete transaction is a good idea.
In an even slightly enhanced emotional state, it doesn’t take much for people to start to feel vulnerable and unsure. Consequently, if you can’t make every aspect of the checkout process frictionless and pain-free you are inviting people to find excuses not to bother seeing things through.
If you’re unconvinced by any of that, tell me how often you return to restaurants where bad service has ruined what should have been a fun night out. Expectations and emotions do funny things to people; they heighten our awareness and our sensitivity; the bigger the occasion, the more elevated you feel, the greater the fall can be.
Think about this too. The same research from Klarna found that the shopping basket on an ecommerce site - and it could be your ecommerce site I’m talking about - isn’t always regarded by shoppers as a basket. That might sound counter-intuitive, but the fact is that, according to Klarna, more than three quarters of millennials use the basket as a wish list. Furthermore, an eye-popping, mind-boggling 89% use it as a tool for reviewing costs.
All of which means that despite working hard to create the smoothest and most engaging customer journey possible, so that shoppers are gently but effectively taken on their way from selection to purchase, there are still pitfalls aplenty waiting to catch you out. There are some things that are always going to be outside of your immediate sphere of influence. I would suggest that one of those might be the extent to which shoppers aged between 16 and 34 are likely to feel guilty and anxious about spending money. You can’t do much about that. But you can make sure you’re doing nothing to add to their troubles.
Lots of clear signposting and information. A range of payment options. A reassuring returns policy. While these are becoming hygiene factors in the main, their absence could put you in the shade permanently. You can add to that list the small matter of how the now-anxious shopper is going to get their purchased items. A range of delivery and collection options that will not sour the overall experience is more important than ever.
If you’re not doing everything in your power to control those things you are able to influence, I have another E word for you - extinction.
Sebastian Steinhauser, CEO & Founder of Parcelly adds: 'At Parcelly we understand that the final few stages of online retailer check-outs are crucial. This is why we add 2 more 'E's' to the equation: E for ease and E for elect. The latest ‘State of Shipping’ report shows us that 74% of online shoppers expect click&collect or in-store collect options as an alternative to home delivery, yet only 47% of UK retailers currently offer this service. Parcelly provides a flexible delivery option that lets consumers receive their parcels where and when it best suits them. Through our 1,200+ carrier agnostic Parcelly locations and our intuitive app-based process, consumers can elect the location that best suits them, and choose when they wish to collect their parcels. This avoids the issues of waiting at home for parcels or worse, missing deliveries.'
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